It's time for your vacation or business trip and the question is: take the dog or leave him home? These days there are so many pet friendly hotels and even restaurants to choose from, that taking your dog along is definitely not out of the question. Many pet parents are reluctant to leave their dogs at boarding facilities that resemble the local dog pound, or they may not have a pet sitter in their area.
Sarah, a sales professional from California, checked out boarding kennels in her hometown and opted to take Tasha, her 4-year-old Lhasa Apso, on her business trip. “I was going to Dallas, Texas, and found that the hotel I'd be staying in was pet friendly, so I took her with me. I really can't stand to be away from her anyway; she's my baby!” she said.
Once in Dallas, Sarah checked into her hotel but was told that their policy prevented her from leaving Tasha in the room alone all day without a crate. “I was really upset because I didn't anticipate that. I was in a bind -- she couldn't go to the business appointments with me! I had expected that she would just sleep in the room while I was out, like she does at home. She's completely housebroken!”
This is a common hotel policy. If you have not planned for it, you may find yourself scrambling for a nearby pet sitter / boarding facility or a crate rental. In this case, Sarah needed an emergency boarding alternative or in-hotel pet sitter for Tasha. “She would have hated being left in a crate all day,” Sarah said.
Other unexpected things can happen when traveling with your dog, such as needing a veterinarian or animal hospital in an emergency, or just running out of your favorite holistic dog food. With a bit of preparation, you can avoid last-minute problems.
- First, call your hotel to find out the room policy for pets. As in Sarah's case, many hotels require dogs to be crated when they are left in the room. Others limit dog size or even breed, as well as number of pets.
- Before you travel to another city, check for local boarding facilities or pet sitters who come to hotels. You can also look for a pet services company that rents crates if you aren't bringing one along. You may also want to check for emergency animal hospitals, veterinarians, groomers, pet taxi services, and pet supply stores.
- Check to see if your dog food brand is available in that area and where. A sudden change of food combined with the stress of travel can upset your dog's stomach.
- Always travel with your pet's immunization record. Vets, groomers, boarding facilities and even some hotels and dog parks insist on proof of current vaccinations.
Sarah's hotel suggested she call Canine Concierge, a local company that caters to dog owners' needs in the Dallas area. A company like Canine Concierge can be a great resource to recommend services, provide them, and taxi your dog around town. If you need a new dog toy, they can get you one. If your dog needs a good grooming or other “spa” service, they can pick him up and drop him off after his day of pampering. And if you change your mind about boarding, your beloved furry friend can stay the day or all week in their Zen-like accommodations -- nothing like the local pound -- where peaceful designer-decorated suites, quiet music, and gentle play abound. This place touts the best of everything, including world-class grooming. If you need by-the-hour pet sitting in your hotel, they will send a bonded and insured sitter, trained in CPR and dog first aid, to play and watch TV with your fur-child. They also rent crates and sell retail items, including an array of premium dog foods.
“I called the Canine Concierge, and they took care of everything. I especially liked the helpful suggestions about where the dog parks were, the best pet friendly restaurants, and that Tasha was picked up in a 'Limo!' The staff was so helpful, professional, and kind. I never knew such a service and place existed!" Sarah said.
There are similar services in most major cities. Check our internet directory and find out before you leave town.